A quick checklist for a sanctuary bath experience:
- quiet time and place
- thick, thirsty bath sheet
- magnesium salts of some kind
- a candle or two
- a bath board (where have I been without this??)
- lavender oil (or your favorite essential oil)
- some soft, soulful, background music
Everyone knows that the magnesium in Epsom salts relaxes the muscles and calms the body. And I’m sure you know how delicious the smell of a high-quality lavender oil is as it spreads across the surface of the water. Quiet music calms the random noises in the house and provides some space for the mind to wander. All of these can provide a really relaxing bath.
But one ingredient is missing from the list. And it’s the one thing that takes the bath experience from the mundane to the sublime.
Taking a bath in the real world
I do happen to live in the real world, and I know what usually happens as soon as I start placing a few candles around my bath tub. My husband suddenly wants to discuss Beethoven’s compositional techniques. The dogs decide to play Capture-the-Cat. The phone rings — someone is having a drapery emergency (btw, there is no such thing as a drapery emergency, even in my world).
This happens all the time: as soon as we decide to do something to nurture ourselves, a thousand reasons arise for why we should not.
It took me a while to understand that I wasn’t being a bad mother, business owner, wife, or kitty-mommy when I needed to check out for a half hour. It took some time for me to understand that this time of soaking in mineral and lavender-suffused water was not just about the feel of the warm water or the scent of the oil.
It took me some time to understand that my intention to care for myself allowed me to better care for my kids, my husband, my employees, my clients, and the world at large.
And that’s the magic ingredient, right there: the decision – the intention – to nurture, care for, and strengthen our own souls, bodies, and minds.
When I carry that intention around with me and act on it, good things happen. I feel more grounded. I feel a little more carefree. I feel more resilient. I’m freer with my attention, my affection, my love. I think less about what’s in it for me, and more about what I can do to help others.
I’m going to call that the Sanctuary Paradox – by taking better care of ourselves, we can take better care of others. I like that! It sounds very scientific, doesn’t it?
The bath as sanctuary
And so this bath I’m talking about is much more than a chance to rest our feet and relax. This is something sacred. This is a chance for our spirits to be replenished, and for our vessel to be refilled. This is a moment of communing with the Universe.
This is what the whole idea of sanctuary is all about. It’s because I believe that we can nurture the inherent love and beauty that is part of our own souls intentionally. And I believe that this love is shared all the more easily with those around us, out of our abundance rather than out of our lack. And I believe that our world so badly needs all of us to be shining beacons of this love – every day, and in every circumstance.
I know, that’s a lot to put on getting in a tub full of water. But that’s the secret art of the bath. When I get out, my body is relaxed. My skin feels good. But most importantly, my soul is refreshed.
So is your hot water running yet?
With love and appreciation,